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Oklahoma GOP Wakes Up, May Agree To Medicaid Expansion

One in a series of red states that woke up to math and voters.

Yet another red state wakes up to math and people.

The Republican legislature and governor of Oklahoma have decided to back a plan that will in essence expand Medicaid in the state. The alternative was to cut payments to Medicaid providers by 25%. All because they wouldn't expand Medicaid, because Obamacare.

That announcement woke up a lot of voters in the state, particularly those who rely on Medicaid to pay their nursing home bills. AARP reports (pdf) that about 65 percent of nursing home residents nationwide are supported primarily by Medicaid.

When it came out that nursing homes in the state would likely close rather than endure the Medicaid cuts, nursing home residents...and their families...noticed.

And Governor Mary Fallin and her GOP cohorts have decided that like Tennessee, Arkansas, and Utah before them, maybe they can find a way to expand Medicaid without making it look too much like they "caved to that Obama." ThinkProgress:

Gov. Fallin has marketed the plan to conservatives as a “Medicaid rebalancing,” hoping to sidestep the Obamacare-associated phrase “Medicaid expansion.” Her plan promises to bring federal dollars to Oklahoma without changing net Medicaid enrollment.

Conservative groups are resistant to expanding the Medicaid program, saying that this policy almost always goes over budget and leaves taxpayers to foot the bill. The right-wing group Americans for Prosperity -- backed by the anti-Obamacare Koch brothers -- are already mobilizing against Fallin's proposal.

That's nice. The Koch Brothers don't have to worry whether they or their relatives will be able to pay for nursing home care. At some point these Republican governors have to tell the Kochs off because Republican voters like their nursing home coverage.

Of course, none of this stress has been levied on families from states where Medicaid was expanded in the first place. You'd think they'd notice that, too.


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